Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 23 and 24, 2015)

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Middle Pierce Pond in all its glory

Middle Pierce Pond in all its glory

Pierce Pond is a 1,650-acre gem of a lake nestled in the mountains of central Somerset County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). It consists of three basins (lower, middle and upper) connected by shallow, boulder-infested thoroughfares. The water is crystal clear and its quality is superb. The local brook trout population is entirely native and robust. Trout well into the 3 lbs are not uncommon. The State also stocks landlocked Atlantic salmon, which creates a lively fishery, although those fish rarely exceed 4 lbs, and most stay below 3 lbs. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The fishing rules are strict, as follows: (a) the pond is closed to ice fishing; (b) the pond is open to fishing from May 1 to September 30; (c) only artificial lures are allowed; (d) the daily bag limit on trout is two fish with a minimum length of 10” and only one of which may exceed 12”; and (e) no size or bag limit on lake trout. Click here for more details on the regulations. This water body is completely surrounded by a protected forested watershed. Hence, civilization intrudes minimally. The entire shoreline is deeply wooded and not a single dock or house is visible anywhere, except for Cobb’s Camp where we will be staying for the next four days.  Our hosts provide us with a comfortable log cabin, a warm bed, a flush toilet, a hot shower, a cozy wood stove, and three square meals a day! Our one and only job while in this enchanted place is to fish until we drop dead from exhaustion!

 

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Brown trout fishing on Crystal Lake, Gray, Maine (May 30, 2015)

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General view of Crystal Lake

General view of Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake (a.k.a. Dry Pond) is a 189-acre body of water located in Gray, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B3). This relatively small lake is heavily developed, particularly along its western shoreline, but sustains a popular regional salmonid fishery consisting of rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout. The state stocks the lake annually with these three species to sustain their populations. It is also the location for a popular annual ice fishing derby (click here for more details) attended by several thousand people each year. A hard-top boat ramp is located at the southern end of the lake off Mayberry Road. The town of Gray also maintains a public beach and swimming area right next to this ramp. Ample parking is available across from the launch. All in all, this lake is a busy spot but well worth a visit in the spring on account of its superb trout fishing. I’ll note here that, in the past, I have caught rainbow trout trolling on this water body well into July, which is evidence of the high quality of this fishery. Crystal Lake has a maximum and average depth of 59 ft and 25 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

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Brook trout fishing on the Northwest River, Sebago, Maine (May 21, 2015)

View of the Northwest River upstream of Fitch Road. Notice the lack of holding pools

View of the Northwest River upstream of Fitch Road. Notice the lack of holding pools

The Northwest River is a short stream which starts as the outlet of Peabody Pond in the town of Sebago and flows for about five river miles until it reaches the western shore of Sebago Lake, also in the town of Sebago (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B4 C4 C5). It picks up water not only from the overflow of Peabody Pond itself, but also from several small named (e.g., Hill Brook and Mill Brook) and unnamed tributaries along the way. The State stocks this body of water several times each spring with between 400 and 500 8” to 10” brook trout (click here for more details). I’m spending some time this morning exploring the lower 1.5 miles of the Northwest River to assess its potential as a trout fishery.

 

 

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on Panther Pond, Raymond, Maine (May 8, 2015)

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The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty's Neck in the left background.

The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty’s Neck in the left background.

Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on Maine lakes occurs in mid-spring when the fish are moving in-shore to prepare to lay their eggs. Typical smallmouth bass spawning habitat consists of a clean, rocky and bouldery shoreline in 2 to 10 ft of water, with easy access to nearby deeper water. The fish start moving in these shallows when the water temperature reaches the low 50’s in early May. Actual spawning typically starts towards the end of May when the water temperature hovers between the high 50’s and mid 60’s. The smallmouths feed aggressively in May in order to fatten up in preparation for the spawn. The goal, therefore, is to position oneself at the right place and the right time, using the right lure and the right fishing technique, in order to take advantage of this short window of opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lake trout fishing on Sebago Lake, Maine (May 2, 2015)

Fog does a great job keeping the light levels low

Fog does a great job keeping the light levels low

Ice-out on Sebago Lake in the spring of 2015 occurred on April 21. Shortly thereafter – typically within 10 to 14 days after ice out – the rainbow smelt start congregating at the mouth of the major lake tributaries in preparation for their annual upstream spawning migration. The smelt, which are cold water-loving and pelagic (i.e., deep-water) creatures, are particularly vulnerable to predation during this period. The reason is that they are confined to relatively narrow and shallow areas while waiting for the right conditions to occur before swimming up the tributaries. And just as predictably, the landlocked Atlantic salmon and lake trout are in hot pursuit to gorge themselves on their favorite prey. This unique set of behaviors creates a golden opportunity each spring, which lasts about two to three weeks after the start of the smelt migration, to catch salmon and lake trout in shallow waters without the need of much specialized equipment. The combination of cold oxygenated water right up to the surface combined with an abundant food source disappears by mid-May, after which both prey and predators continue their endless game of hide and seek in the profundal zones of Lake Sebago where they are much more difficult to find, target, and catch.

 

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Landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Peabody Pond, Sebago, Maine (April 25, 2015)

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Tandem fishing on Peabody Pond with a downrigger and lead core line.

Tandem fishing on Peabody Pond with a downrigger and lead core line.

Peabody Pond is a 735-acre body of water located in the town of Sebago in Cumberland County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B4). Access is via a hard-top municipal boat launch located next to Peabody Pond Road off Route 107. The launch is situated next to the pond’s major outlet, which forms the source of the Northwest River linking Peabody Pond to Sebago Lake. This launch is spacious and can accommodate substantial vessels. Be aware, however, that launching and retrieving can become a real challenge later on in the spring when the water levels drop due to the shallowness of the launch area. The pond is moderately developed along its western shoreline, but otherwise provides a rather remote setting with Bald Pate Mountain as a lovely backdrop.

 

 

 

 

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Ice fishing for splake and smallmouth bass on Trickey Pond in Naples, Maine (March 29, 2015)

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Trickey Pond is a 311 acre pristine body of water located next to Route 114 in Naples, Cumberland County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). I have fished this pond numerous times in the past (for recent examples, click here and here) and have invariably found it … trickey and unpredictable! The fishing can be really slow but also rewarding for those who are willing to put in the time and learn its secrets. Today is my last day of the 2015 hard water season. The past winter was long, cold, brutal, and snowy. We experienced what folks around here call a good ole Maine winta! I’m fishing this morning for a couple of hours but have also organized a picnic for later on today on this pond with about 25 friends and family members. The purpose of our get-together is to shake off “cabin fever”, celebrate the end of the cold season and welcome in the start of spring.

 

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The 13 hottest trout fishing ponds for the spring of 2015 in southern New Jersey

This blog identifies the 13 ponds in southern New Jersey that provide the best odds of catching trout during the spring of 2015. For the purpose of this blog, southern New Jersey covers Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Glouchester, Ocean, and Salem counties. The fishing action on these bodies of water can be fast and furious in the spring. Trout activity typically peaks for three or four weeks between mid-April and mid-May, after which the bite slows down due to rising surface water temperatures.
The best trout ponds in southern New Jersey for the spring of 2015 are highlighted below in alphabetical order. A pond is considered HOT due to its trout stocking density: after all, everything else being equal, the more trout that are stocked per acre of water, the greater the chances of catching those fish!!

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The 10 hottest trout ponds for spring 2015 in northwestern New Jersey

This blog identifies the 10 hottest ponds in northwestern New Jersey that provide the best odds of catching trout during the spring of 2015. For the purpose of this blog, northwestern New Jersey covers Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties. The fishing action on these bodies of water can be fast and furious in the spring. Trout activity typically peaks for three or four weeks between mid-April and mid-May, after which the bite slows down due to rising surface water temperatures.

 

The best trout ponds in northwestern New Jersey for the spring of 2015 are highlighted below in alphabetical order. A pond is considered HOT due to its trout stocking density: everything else being equal, the more trout that are stocked per acre of water, the greater the chances of catching those fish!!

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The 10 hottest trout ponds for the spring of 2015 in Northeastern New Jersey

This blog identifies the 10 ponds in northeastern New Jersey that provide the best odds of catching trout during the spring of 2015. For the purpose of this blog, northeastern New Jersey covers Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. The fishing action on these bodies of water can be fast and furious in the spring. Trout activity typically peaks for three or four weeks between mid-April and mid-May, after which the bite slows down due to rising surface water temperatures.

 

The hottest trout ponds in northeastern New Jersey for the spring of 2015 are highlighted below in alphabetical order. A pond is considered HOT due to its trout stocking density: everything else being equal, the more trout that are stocked per acre of water, the greater the chances of catching those fish!!

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